Rice Athletics releases ‘Vision for Victory’ strategic plan

By Chuck Pool
Special to Rice News

Joe Karlgaard, Rice University’s Director of Athletics, Recreation and Lifetime Fitness, has set the course for the continued growth of the department with the release of Vision for Victory, a five-year strategic plan that outlines the department’s vision, mission, core values and strategic priorities.

Joe Karlgaard

Joe Karlgaard

“For the past year, our athletics department has undertaken a collaborative effort to develop a new strategic plan,” Karlgaard said. “We asked questions of our university leadership, student athletes, coaches and staff, alumni and supporters and have listened carefully to their responses. The result is a strategic plan that reflects the ambitions and values of those who care most about Rice Athletics and its future. We have clear strategic priorities that will help us move closer to our vision while embracing our mission and living out our core values. We look forward to engaging our supporters as we embark on this journey forward.”

Vision for Victory, which was developed in partnership with the Boston Consulting Group, was fashioned from the input of over 1,300 Rice constituents. More than 70 individuals, including coaches, athletics staff, student athletes, donors and fans were interviewed, while additional data was collected from 1,250 survey responses from a variety of Rice constituents.

The plan outlines three strategic priorities for Rice Athletics and defines 10 goals and accompanying initiatives to support them:

  • Promote academic, professional and personal development by supporting academic excellence, providing opportunities for professional and personal growth and fostering participation by student athletes in all that Rice has to offer.
  • Improve athletics competitiveness by optimizing performance through a holistic, science-based approach, attracting and retaining elite coaches and staff, and identifying, recruiting and retaining top prospects
  • Raise the prominence of the Rice Athletics brand by expanding community outreach, engaging former student athletes, enhancing the fan experience and increasing self-generated funding.

“If we successfully accomplish our goals, we will be well-positioned for the rapidly evolving future of college athletics,” Karlgaard stated.

The new strategic plan seeks to build upon the success of Karlgaard’s New Vision for Rice Athletics, which was released in July of 2014 and identified four pillars to help evaluate the program: Athletic Competitiveness, Academic Success, Life Education and Achievement, and Rice Values. Seven distinct goals and 22 accompanying strategies were critical to achieving success towards the four pillars.

“I’m pleased with all that the Athletics department has accomplished over the past five years.” Rice President David Leebron said. “We have had many successes on and off the field, and I’m confident that the new strategic plan provides the guidance for the next steps to the department’s continued growth.”

Over those five years, Rice Athletics has won 19 Conference USA championships over 11 different sports – the most in the conference over that time period – and has seen four sports enter their respective national top 25 rankings while several others have received votes. At the same time, the Owls have consistently dominated the conference academic honors, including a record 256 student athletes on the 2018 C-USA Academic Honor Roll. Rice is annually ranked by the NCAA for its graduation success rates and has maintained a career placement rate of over 90% among its graduating student athletes.

Rice Athletics has seen a 45% growth in ticket revenue and a record numbers of season tickets sold since the implementation of the New Vision. Renegotiation of sponsorship, apparel, pouring rights, merchandise, concessions and ticketing partnerships has generated and additional $3 million in incremental revenue for the department. The Owl Club has reached record levels of both funds raised and donors to the department, and Rice established the first coaching endowment in school history, the Dunlevie Family Head Football Coach.

Rice Athletics encourages those interested in helping with the implementation of the plan to contact the department, indicating the area in which they are interested in helping. To contact Rice Athletics, click here

About Special to Rice News

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